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Seeking Answers on New Jersey's Water Supply

May 29, 2015

The need for an updated version of New Jersey’s Water Supply Plan is a growing topic of concern among NJ lawmakers, environmentalists and residents interested in protecting our water supply. The plan is essential for outlining how the state will manage its water supply to fulfill demand and cope with shortages from droughts.



The draft has been completed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for several years, but has been held up for undisclosed reasons. 

ecent news articles (Press of Atlantic City, NJ Spotlight) have shed light on this concern, and the talk of droughts looming makes the release even more significant. 

On May 20, the Atlantic County Groundwater Advisory Committee (GWAC) – which monitors, reviews and reports on groundwater issues for Atlantic County – met to discuss this and other pressing issues related to water supply and use.

Fred Akers, River Administrator for the Greater Egg Harbor Council and Watershed Association, shared a presentation outlining the existing State Water Supply Plan from 1996:

As discussion following the presentation pointed out, the implications of the delayed release for New Jersey are major. Our public health, economy and growth are dependent on water, and accurately planning for our state’s supply is vital. 

A presentation by ACUA Project Analyst Kevin Whitney showcased current water allocations and local rates as well as notes from a recent hearing on the plan:


Members of the committee discussed the impact the report may have on water allocations throughout the state.

Steve Blankenship, Executive Director of the Hamilton Township Municipal Utilities Authority (HTMUA), shared HTMUA’s experience with allocations and questioned how and if the report will change how allocations are granted. Will allocations be adjusted to reflect actual flows and demand as opposed to peak demand capacity? Will utilities with large water allocations, such as Atlantic City, be considered more valuable? 

The committee was in agreement that without the updated Water Supply Plan it is unable to provide water management recommendations to the County – its key function. As a result, the committee has made an official recommendation to the County Executive and Board of Freeholders that a formal request be issued for the release of the Water Supply Plan from the NJDEP.

We will provide updates on this issue as it progresses.